Diverse Author Spotlight is a new post series on my blog where I’ll introduce and interview a marginalized author! You can read the first one here, with Richard Ford Burley.
Taylor Brooke is a queer author who uses she/they pronouns, and is #OwnVoices for chronic and mental illness. Her first series, Isolation, begins with Omen Operation. She has recently started a second series, titled Camellia Clock Cycle, that begins with Fortitude Smashed.
Without further ado, read on for my conversation with my friend Taylor. My comments will be bolded and labeled AC. Taylor is . Enjoy ❤
AC: So first off, thanks for agreeing to do this! I’m a huge fan of Fortitude Smashed, if that wasn’t obvious before, but it wasn’t your first book. Would you like to tell us a little about your first series?
TB: No problem! No, Fortitude Smashed wasn’t my first published work. It’s actually my fourth. I wrote a trilogy when I was twenty years old – my first original work – and it ended up being published by a micro press a few years ago. The Isolation Series is about a group of genetically modified young adults who fight back against a corrupt corporation. It’s super queer and gritty, and I’m hoping to have it re-homed, re-edited and re-vamped by a new publisher very soon.
AC: So both of your series are queer. Why do you write queer characters? What does it mean to you, to write that representation?
TB: As a Queer person, I never saw myself in literature. Not as the hero or villain or anything, really. I wanted to write books full of characters like me and my friends. I also think it’s important to write the world you want, and I want Queer happiness and Queer resistance and Queer everything. Creating complex, deep characters who happen to be Queer and engage in their Queerness proudly and loudly is something I’ll always do. I’m not a huge fan of coming out narratives, even though they’re important if written from an ownvoices perspective, but I do love books full of Queer characters. I don’t think I’ll ever write a book without a Queer main character.
AC: Is this the reason you write? If not, why do you write, or for who?
TB: Yes, I would say that is one of the reasons I write. I want other Queer folks to see themselves represented in literature and see themselves happy, triumphant, in love, in lasting friendships, succeeding and following their dreams. I definitely write for the Queer community.
AC: So, I might as well say this. Fortitude Smashed is a book that rocked my world. You wrote a blog post detailing how Laguna Beach inspired the story, but were there any other inspirations that you hadn’t mentioned?
TB: I’m so glad to hear that! You know, it wasn’t just Laguna Beach that inspired the story, but what I did there. I spent a lot of time in that city with my friends. I ditched class in high school and went there, I spent my summer there, I ditched junior college classes and went there. You can see the trend, I’m sure. Anyway, it was who I was there with that mattered. Fortitude Smashed was greatly influenced by my own life. Not the soulmate aspect, but what Aiden has gone through, how he deals with things, his character in general. I see so much of myself in him. And I see so much of my close friends in the cast – Daisy, Shannon, Chelsea, Karman – they all have tethers to people that I love in real life, who went through things with me and hurt with me and grew with me. So yeah. I’d have to say that I definitely broke the cardinal rule for writing fiction and that The Camellia Clock Cycle is inspired by my own experiences in many, many ways.
AC: I don’t think that should be a rule at all. Write what matters to you, is the way I see it. Now, I know that you have Curved Horizon coming up in March, which is the second Camellia Clock Cycle novel. Do you have any other plans in the works you can tell us about?
TB: Yes! Curved Horizon is on its way and I can’t wait for readers to watch Daisy and Chelsea navigate love and friendship. I’m working on a lot, to be honest. I’ve got a few YA projects that are secrets, but I’m super excited about them. I’m also working on the third Camellia Clock book – which doesn’t have a release date just yet, but I’m hoping to have it finished and ready to go in 2018. I’ve also written a gritty, sexy New Adult romance with Jude Sierra about love and loss and moving on. There is quite a bit in the pipeline.
AC: That sounds like so much fun! One last question, before I let you go, but I just have to ask. Aiden’s cat Mercy….is there a certain cat that she was inspired by? (Picture optional 😉)
TB: Yes! Mercy was inspired by my own kitty. I adopted her 13 years ago and she’s been rescuing me ever since. Her name is Raven but I call her Eeps. She doesn’t look like Mercy, but she’s definitely got a playful, laid back temperament like Mercy the ancient smooshed face feline from Fortitude Smashed.
AC: Awwh!! Thank you for participating!
TB: Thank you so much for interviewing me 😊 this was fun!